The Washington Football Team have become the first National Football League (NFL) team to be granted a sports betting license, through a partnership with gaming company FanDuel.
Franchises are not permitted to participate directly in or provide sports betting, however, in states where teams are granted market access, teams are able to use a sportsbook to utilise their licence.
Sports betting was legalised on January 21 in Virginia, making the license between FanDuel and the Washington Football Team the first of its kind in the state.
Financial details on the partnership and how revenue will be shared between the bookmakers and the team have not been disclosed.
"The way the Virginia legislation is written, there is preferential treatment to the team, which is one of the reasons why we're privileged to be the first sportsbook live in the state of Virginia," Mike Raffensperger, chief marketing officer for FanDuel, said Thursday.
Raffensperger also confirmed that Washington Football Team logos will feature throughout the online sportsbook as part of the collaboration, as well as FanDuel signage featuring in the Fedex Field.
John Hagerty, a spokesperson for the Virginia Lottery, which is responsible for issuing sports betting permits in the state, said that he expected further licence approvals to take place in Virginia imminently, with the state likely to have more than one licensed sports betting operator before the Super Bowl in February.
"It's exciting that the NFL teams and other league teams are getting involved," Scott Ward, a government affairs partner for the lobbying firm Orrick who was involved in the legalization in Virginia, told Purdum. "I think we're going to see this in other states, particularly throughout the South, where you don't have casinos, including Texas."
A total of 20 states, plus D.C., offer legalised sports betting, with more states likely to follow.
Author: Jake Wilkin